REL 2004 Policy Forum
Lessons Learned: Next Steps in Your State

Forum participants discussed what they learned from the forum, how this information will be used in their state, and what they will address in their individual jobs when they return to their own setting.

In Texas, a participant from the state education agency will begin collaborating with another from the state health agency to implement a project funded through the Centers for Disease Control. In New Mexico, an education agency participant plans to incorporate information about how achievement gap issues can be addressed at a level beyond the schools in a state symposium addressing best practices to be held in the Spring of 2005. Participants also described programs and collaborative partnerships in their states that are examples of resources discussed throughout the forum. In Arkansas, a health services and early childhood education collaborative partnership exists that other states can use as a resource when establishing successful partnerships across agencies. Additionally, participants brought to light some of the resources they will consider in their decision-making and policy and program development related to the achievement gap. These included: early childhood education from prenatal onward, health services to disseminate education-related materials, and education information where parents spend their time (grocery stores and beauty salons). A concluding thought, elucidated by one of the forum participants, was most powerful–educators have spent too much time admiring the problem. We must engage in high-quality discussions about the issues, tie them to solutions, and take action.